Women experience their peak testosterone levels around middle 20s, which then decline gradually until menopause. During menopause, this decline is remarkable producing several side effects. Low libido (or low sex drive) is an outcome of decreased testosterone levels affecting women, both young and old.
Testosterone plays an important role in enhancing sexual health in women. Nonetheless, many other factors including decreased estrogen levels, medication side effects, stress and chronic health conditions are also contributory. Testosterone, which is referred to as ‘the life-force hormone’, influences wider aspects of sexual health as arousal, interest, lubrication and orgasm.
Many things have been found to affect the testosterone levels in women including:
Women not having ‘normal’ circulating testosterone levels can experience obstacles to optimal sex hormone production. In stress, progesterone (precursor to testosterone) gets converted into stress hormones instead of sex hormones and causes lower testosterone levels and decreased libido over time.
Testosterone is produced in women through a multi-step process. This involves the ovaries and adrenal glands. Women who experience high levels of stress over a long time adversely affect their adrenal reserves which can in turn adversely affect testosterone levels.
Women who undergo hysterectomy can show very low levels of testosterone (sometimes, even hardly detectable). Even retention of ovaries post-hysterectomy can lead to inefficient ovarian circulation. There can be disruption to the normal menopausal transition through unusual functioning of the ovaries which can cause sexual issues.
The following can help deal with low testosterone levels and related low sex drive.
Testosterone therapy can help women counter the effects of low testosterone. Women having enough estrogen, are post menopausal and having low libido with no obvious/identifiable reason may benefit from this therapy. Those who their ovaries removed are also likely to benefit since the ovaries are a primary source of testosterone. The therapy works like restoring testosterone levels back to the normal levels (had the ovaries been present). Increasing testosterone works similar for women as Viagra does for men. A study suggests that hormone can help postmenopausal women deal with sexual desire problems. A low-dose combination of estrogen-testosterone can benefit more than estrogen alone in enhancing sexual interest in women. Testosterone therapy can be administered in various forms as creams, gels and pills. The method of administration and dose largely depend upon the safety risks and side effects.
However, there is lack of knowledge about the long-term safety of testosterone therapy. This compels many doctors not to recommend it.Testosterone preparations are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in women. Though not approved, testosterone therapy may be used to treat sexual problems in women. Testosterone therapy is not advised to women with breast or uterine cancer.
This is an FDA approved male hormone which can benefit women in dealing with low libido. Estratest is used ‘off-label’ by doctors for dealing with low sexual desire in women, although it is meant to treat hot flashes.
The medicine is supposed to be safe and efficient. However, since the medicine is a combination of two hormones, all women may not want to use it. Primarily, surgically menopausal women experiencing hot flashes and reduced sexual desire can benefit from this medicine.